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Freeman or Varley in line for start

Freeman or Varley in line for semi-final start

Mike Finnerty

THE Mayo team to face Dublin in next Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC semi-final is set to show just one change from the side that beat Down in the quarter-final.
Speculation about who will replace the injured Mayo captain, Andy Moran, has been intensifying in recent days but it seems almost certain that either Alan Freeman or Enda Varley will come into the full-forward line next weekend.
Moran’s replacement should be the only alteration in a Mayo side that is due to be released to the general public later this week.
Mayo train tomorrow evening  (Wednesday) with the team expected to be announced afterwards or else on Thursday.
Reports suggest that Ballintubber’s Jason Gibbons has also been ‘flying’ in training in recent weeks and the talented midfielder is also believed to be pushing hard for inclusion next Sunday. However, it seems likely that the 23 year old will have to be content with a place on the bench. The same goes for Seamus O’Shea and Richie Feeney who are also in good form.
Meanwhile, Crossmolina’s Cathal Carolan, who only joined the panel two weeks ago, will also be hoping to force his way into the ‘match-day 26’ next weekend.
The Mayo squad took part in their final ‘A’ v ‘B’ trial match last Sunday at McHale Park, Castlebar before the management finalised their team selection.
No new injury worries have been reported ahead of the clash with the All-Ireland champions.
Ronan McGarrity picked up a calf injury two weeks ago but is expected to be fit to take his place among the Mayo replacements.
Speaking to journalists at a press briefing last week, James Horan said that he felt there were “three to four” players competing to take the place of his injured skipper.
“Andy’s a big loss but he’s still the captain of our team and is driving us on from the side,” said the Mayo manager.
“We’re very lucky that we have an extremely strong panel. “We’ve had four or five guys showing well in training recently and we feel we’ve had a positive bounce since Andy’s injury.”
Meanwhile, Mayo GAA chiefs are confident that more than 20,000 of the county’s supporters will be in Croke Park to back the Connacht champions on Sunday.
Tickets will be on sale to the general public at McHale Park, Castlebar today (Tuesday) from 10am to 9pm and tomorrow from 10am to 6pm.

Fixture All-Ireland SFC Semi-Final
Mayo v Dublin
Sunday, September 2

Croke Park at 3.30pm
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan)